It is hoped a futuristic TAFE facility will stem the tide of young people leaving Corowa and help address skill shortages in the caring sector.
TAFE NSW’s $3.74million Connected Learning Centre will be open to students in semester two and features write-on walls, virtual-reality equipment and mobile training units.
NSW TAFE’s Sue Haddrill said the lessons would no longer be “just chalk and talk” but would make use of the latest technology.
“It’s real time synchronised learning across the state – it’s a game changer,” she said.
“It’s got all the advantages of face-to-face learning, plus technology.”
Federation mayor Pat Bourke said the benefits of the centre would extend outside the classroom and into the community.
“If they’re trained or taught at home it’s a bit like the rural doctors situation, people who enjoy the rural situation can stay and live happily,” he said.
Cr Bourke said the town was already benefiting from ‘tree-changers’ looking to take advantage of the shire’s affordable home prices.
“Our future is looking good and a facility such as this will only add to it,” he said.
Member for Albury Greg Aplin said it was remarkable the centre was already complete when the sod was only turned in February, and funding only announced in November.
Despite National Centre for Vocational Education Research data showing a national drop in TAFE enrolments, especially in NSW, Mr Aplin said he was confident they were delivering courses individuals and the community need.
“We’ve found where people study they are more likely to obtain employment and remain,” he said.
“We’re very comfortable with the fact delivering courses people want to study because there are jobs avaliable.
“It’s our job to make sure those courses can be delivered in those sectors and the social services sector that are in demand.”
Mr Aplin said available courses in Corowa would increase 300 per cent, from 13 to 44.
TAFE NSW head of student service Sara Morley said second semester enrolments were already stronger than usual, as residents look to study close to home.
“Being in a small town shouldn’t stop you having access to those same resources,” she said.
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